How to Plan for Winter Weather with Sferic Maps

There are quite a weather conditions that emergency managers must prepare for during the winter months. Snow, sleet, ice, and hail are just a few of the conditions that can make operations dangerous or even deadly. Depending on your area, you’ll need to plan for winter weather differently. However, it’s always important to make it a serious priority, no matter the size of your organization, location, resources.

Weather visualization tools make planning for winter weather easy. In fact, tools like Sferic Maps can keep your operations safe year-round. Let’s get into how to plan for winter weather with Sferic Maps by going over four of the most useful weather forecasts you’ll need in a weather visualization tool and why.

Snow Amount Forecast

A snow amount forecast is probably one of the simplest ways to plan for winter weather. This is especially useful for emergency managers who need to dispatch personnel to areas with dangerous levels of snowfall on the ground.

Our snow amount forecast shows users how much snow is expected to fall, where, and when. Forecasts are broken up into time periods.

  • 0-6 hours
  • 6-12 hours
  • 12-18 hours
  • 18-24 hours

The below image from Sferic Maps shows the snow amount forecast for the Pacific Northwest. The light blue areas indicate snowfall of 0.5 inches or less, while the green areas show a forecast for 4-5 inches in the next 0-6 hours.

Snow Probability Forecast

The snow probability forecast, although it sounds similar, is a different way to visualize winter weather. You can see for the same area, in the next 24 this forecast shows the probability for snow over a certain amount. This shows that over the next 0-24, there is a 10-50% chance depending on the area for 4 or more inches of snow. The key shows that the red areas indicate a 50% chance while the yellow areas have just a 10% chance for that amount of snowfall.

However, if we change it to find the probability of 12 or more inches of snow, the layer looks a lot different. This is great for emergency manages and other decision-makers who know their responsibilities become harder to fulfill when there is a certain amount on snowfall on the ground.

Freezing Rain Probability Forecast

Snow isn’t the only weather-related danger to financial, operational, and human safety during the winter months. Freezing rain can also wreck havoc on a wide variety of industries. Sferic Maps freezing rain probability forecast is the same as the snow probability forecast, only instead of snow predictions it’s freezing rain predictions.

This can help you make the call when you want to send equipment out on the road because you heard there wouldn’t be snow. You need to make sure there isn’t freezing rain either or you ruin a lot of different risks. This forecast works for 0.25 or more inches of freezing rain in time increments of 0-24 hours, 25-48 hours, and 49-72 hours. This way, you can plan for today, tomorrow, or even further down the calendar.

Give it a try with our free trail offering and see how our forecasts can prepare you and improve your winter operations.

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Blustery winds can also pose a threat to people and infrastructure during the winter months. That’s why Sferic Maps is equipment with real-time wind speed and wind chill information. Users also have access to hourly and daily wind gust and direction information.

It’s a comprehensive way to get all of the wind data you need for the areas you operate in.

Lightning Alerts

Lighting alerts in winter? You heard us right.

Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean there isn’t an occasional bolt of lightning or low rumble of thunder. In fact, Earth Networks Meteorologist Steve Prinzivalli caught some surprising winter weather on Sferic Maps over the states of Deleware and New Jersey. Fluctuating temperatures in January 2018 resulted in an early morning thunderstorm that woke up many in the region.

Thundersnow, while uncommon, shouldn’t come as a surprise to most people – especially emergency manages. Sferic Maps helps people around the world be ready for any type of winter weather, even seasonal anomalies. Since Sferic Maps shows real-time, hyperlocal weather data from both our weather and lighting networks, it pushes out our lightning alerts. Not only do users have access to our Dangerous Thunderstorm Alerts and the National Weather Services alerts, but they also can see up-to-the-minute lightning strikes around the globe.